Blog Archive

April 18, 2013

Welcome to Europe

For our honeymoon, we decided to go to a continent both of us have never been before: Europe! To space out our expenses from the wedding and because of procrastination due to lack of idea on where to start, we set the trip to April and only started planning the trip a month before. Thank God for Expat Explore's Europe Escape coach tour. They helped us get through our road blocks:

Schengen Visa

They provided supporting documents/requirements for the application upon request provided that the tour was paid in full. Their site also provided information on which country/embassy to apply to depending on the tour you're availing. In our case, since we will be spending most of our time in Italy, we applied through the Italian Embassy (List of visa requirements here). At first, we thought we had to travel all the way from Tucson to LA just to apply then later on we found out that there is a vice consulate in Phoenix where we can have our documents stamped to send to LA. However, they only have office on Wednesdays 4-6pm and all the appointments within the month were already occupied. Our cramming almost took a toll on us but it seems God really wanted us to go on this trip because somebody cancelled and also we were later emailed by the vice consulate that we can come the following Wednesday without an appointment blocked given that our trip is drawing near.  In less than 2 weeks, we received our passports with our approved schengen visa via Fedex. Whew!

Itinerary, Accommodation and Transportation

The tour lasted for 12 days (April 19-30) visiting 7 countries.  It starts and ends in London. They allow meet-ups and drop-offs in Mainland Europe but the tour price will stay the same. Since we didn't have time to apply for a UK visa, we met the group in Paris and left in Bruges which was good enough for me because we only missed the London part (which I hope is not that much). It is not an ideal itinerary for honeymooners because the schedule was hectic but Topeng knows it is ideal for me because I can't take all that lying down when on vacation.:)) Each day usually starts with loading the bags to the coach and free/inclusive breakfast. The morning is usually allotted for traveling from one city to another and the afternoon for checking in, guided tours (orientation booklets and maps included)/sightseeing and activities. If we stay more than one day in a city, following day is a free day when we get to decide our own activity/itinerary for the day. For those days, our guide teaches us with using the public transportation, provides us with return tickets to the hotel and offers/suggests optional excursions we can take for those days. So we only needed to worry about our itinerary/transpo around the city and our lunch. We availed most of the optional excursions because the price is discounted when you're with a group. Meeting and traveling with other expats surely has an added bonus. Our bus driver Michel and tour guide Gayle were also very friendly, helpful and fun-loving people. All hotels were budget so wifi is limited (either in the reception/dining area only or or you have to pay separately) and location is not within city area. I recommend to do prior research on good places to go for lunch in the city where you are touring. Sometimes dinner is inclusive and usually have big servings.

Pop and the Coach
Mush and the Coach

Tour Family

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